Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 5
Lebanon is on the north side of Israel. In its mountains, there was a great forest, with splendid trees called cedars. The wood of cedars is excellent for the construction of buildings, as Solomon knew well (4:33).
The king of Tyre had authority over that region. Tyre was on the coast, and it had become an extremely important port for the purposes of trade (Isaiah 23:8). The king of Tyre also controlled Sidon, which was another city on the coast, 20 miles (35 kilometres) north of Tyre. Its people were well-known to be very skilled workmen.
Solomon knew that God had given him the task to build the temple, the magnificent house of God in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 7:12-13). God had also provided a time of peace in Israel, so that the construction could begin (see 1 Chronicles 28:2-3). Solomon would need the best wood and the most skilled workmen to carry out that great task. So, he requested help from Hiram, the king of Tyre.
David had established a friendly relationship with Hiram, the king of Tyre, more than 30 years earlier. It was Hiram who supplied the wood and the skilled workmen for David to build his palace (2 Samuel 5:11).
In his message to Hiram, Solomon strongly emphasised that he was doing this great work for God. In particular, he emphasised God’s most holy name, YHWH in the Hebrew language. This name appears as the word LORD, in capital letters, in most English translations. Solomon wanted to give honour to the one real God. That was important in this holy work - and especially because many of Sidon’s people served false gods (11:5).
Next part: Hiram praises God for the wisdom of Solomon (1 Kings 5:7)
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© 2023, Keith Simons.